Reflection & Experience

It is official! This is the last week of classes. I cannot believe it. As soon as classes end, finals week will start. Which means that I will be spending endless hours in the library studying, accompanied by other students and I will be needing plenty of coffee to get through the long week of finals. It has been an overall great experience being an exchange student for the spring semester at the University of South Carolina.

The time has come for me to return back to the beautiful island of Aruba. It is a bittersweet feeling. I remember writing my first article for Aruba Today, where I elaborated on how my first week went and the things that I look forward to doing in Columbia. Now, here I am, writing about going back home in less than two weeks.

I really enjoyed my time here in Columbia. Over these past few months, I have learned a lot. Many things that will surely contribute to the development of my professional and personal life as well. However, I have to admit, that I do miss my home. Moreover, I would definitely like to see and spend time with my family and friends again. This exchange semester abroad experience made me see a lot of things differently and also made me appreciate the island of Aruba way more. The experience gave me somewhat of a perspective of how it feels to be a student at such a large university in the United States. I use the word somewhat, because I believe that four months does not specifically give you the “all time” experience that everyone talks about. This is, because right after that you are starting to get accustomed to the place, you have to prepare to leave and go back home. However, this can actually be seen as a good thing too. A benefit of an exchange semester is, that it does not tie youin the case of the United States, to a four-year long stay. It gives an exchange student the idea, during their couple of months there, as to how everything works. If a student enjoyed the experience, they can always return back there to pursue another degree or even a career.

On a personal note, the exchange semester abroad experience made me understand certain things about myself a little bit more. The experience helped me be more aware of some things that I should work on to improve myself and made me realize some strengths and skills about myself that I did not even know I had before.

Another thing that I am really grateful for, is all the opportunities where I got to travel and visit new places during this exchange semester. I managed to see a lot of new places and try a lot of different and new foods. Which is something that I really enjoy doing. I am pretty sure that I not would have done all these trips if I decided to stay back home in Aruba. Last week, I got the opportunity to see one of my favorite artists live, which is the band of SOJA. I have been listening to SOJA since I was 16 years old. When I saw their tour dates online, I could not believe that they were coming to Columbia to perform. I immediately purchased the tickets and went to the concert with some friends. SOJA was amazing live and we had a great time.

While on the topic of traveling, Last weekend I decided to go to Savannah with the International Student Services. Since this was one of the last few trips that the International Student Services will be doing, I definitely did not want to miss out. We decided to walk in the downtown area and then go grab a bite. While we were walking, we started to notice how cold and windy it was getting, so we ended up going to this really nice café to get some hot chocolate and tea. I had the most delicious tea, called Savannah Fog. We also visited the beach, however, I believe that it does not even come in comparison with the beaches back home. There is still one trip left, which is the Atlanta trip and I am still supposed to go to Myrtle Beach this upcoming week. Therefore, I have to make sure to finish all my school work and make sure to start packing before going on these trips.q